The government signed an agreement in March 2004 with BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce Turbomeca U.K. for procurement of 24 Hawks, with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) building another 42 aircraft under the technology-transfer route.
These 66 jets are for the Indian air force to train rookie pilots and fill the gap in training aircraft between its HJT-16 Kirans and MiG-21 supersonics.
“All the 24 direct-supply aircraft have been delivered by BAE Systems, while 28 out of the 42 aircraft contracted with HAL had been delivered [as of] July,” Antony said in parliament Aug. 17.
In July 2010, India signed another contract with HAL for procurement of another 57 Hawk AJTs.
Of these, 40 are for the [Indian air force] and 17 are for the Indian navy. The delivery of these aircraft has commenced since 2013 and is expected to be completed by 2016.
The Hawk AJT has been developed to provide training for future pilots of fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft such as the Typhoon, F-35 Lightning II and F-18.
According to BAE Systems, the Hawk AJT is equipped with the latest cockpit displays and sensors, enabling it to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground combat and tactical formation-flying, as well as an aerial refueling probe and external wing tanks that enable it to perform extended missions.
This makes the Hawk “an ideal platform for the introduction of student pilots in the Advanced Fast Jet phase of conversion,” the company says.